Jun 122019

Facebook user Glenn Mitchell has captured video of what appears to be an alligator swimming near a Point Mallard walking trail.

And people have lost their minds.

This WAAY-TV article gets it right when it says:

Decatur Parks and Recreation said the gator probably came from the Wheeler Wildlife Refuge, and there are likely more gators in the Tennessee River.

In 1979, 56 alligators were released in Wheeler to help expand the animal’s range. (“To eat beavers on the Arsenal” is a commonly-repeated, though inaccurate, reason for the action.) They’ve been here at least since then.

Taken at Ditto Landing! (Just kidding. Tennessee Aquarium.)

This causes me no consternation, nor should it you.

Look, alligators are like squirrels on the Alabama Gulf coast. They’re freakin’ everywhere. I can remember being 12 years old and riding my bicycle all over Gulf Shores and Gulf State Park with my cousin, and we never had a day on which we didn’t see one. Didn’t have to be particularly near water, either. We’d see them on the side of the road.

Gee, there aren’t exactly a lot of reports of alligator carnage coming out of Baldwin County, are there?

Guess what else? There have only been 21 fatal alligator attacks in the United States in the 21st century. It’s a much greater risk of your life, by several orders of magnitude, to drive to the walking trail.

Alligators aren’t going to come after you. The greatest danger they present is in people accidentally getting close to them when they are camouflaged, and even that, mathematically, is a small concern. Moreover, the precautions you would take to avoid such are things you should be doing anyway.

Keep your freak-out powder dry, dudes and dolls. This isn’t worth any of it.

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 Posted by at 9:23 am

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